Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Dorset buttons

Making thread buttons is a new skill for me, and I think they came out quite well.  These are a very simple design, of course, but I like them.  They remind me of Fortuna's Wheel, which in turn reminds me of A Confederacy of Dunces, and that makes me laugh.  And they are the same colour as the TARDIS.

I remember reading somewhere that thread buttons were the most common type of button used on 18th century outfits, but of course I've now forgotten where I read that.

My buttons are copies of an original example found here, and are quite simple to make.  They involve covering a metal ring (in this case a curtain tie-back ring) with thread using buttonhole stitch, then weaving a little pattern in the center of the ring.  I stuck to a simple design, but thread buttons could be incredibly elaborate like the ones shown here.

The Challenge: Blue.

Fabric: N/A.

Pattern: Copied from a picture.

Year: 18th century to early 19th century.

Notions: TARDIS-blue cotton embroidery thread and metal curtain tie-back rings.

How historically accurate is it?  Not really.  My construction technique is accurate, but the originals would have been made of linen or silk, not cotton, and the rings would have been brass.  Maybe 70% at best.

Hours to complete: Between 20 and 30 minutes for each button.  Apparently, some Dorset button makers could get through six or seven dozen buttons per day.

First worn: Not yet.  They have been put in my stash in anticipation of next month's challenge.

Total cost: About $17 all up.


  1. I've always admired thread buttons, though my historical interests do not lie in the periods during which they were commonly used on clothing. Well done!

    1. Thanks! They are kind of fun to make, and they are pretty. Of course, some of the period ones are amazing.